So suppose that you had this idea for a movie: A humanoid amphibian creature has been captured in the Amazon and is being held in a lab in the US. The creature develops a relationship with one of the housekeepers, and eventually there is screaming and bloodshed and hats are lost. It's sort of a retro-sci-fi romance thriller, but it is done with ZERO schlock, first class all the way. You'd expect that there would be SOME mention of the Black Lagoon, wouldn't you?
Apparently not. Guillermo Del Toro is calling it, "The Shape of Water", and I am REALLY looking forward to it, Black Lagoon or no.
That was harder than I expected it to be. And I expected it to be hard.
I spent Thursday in bed with a fever, spent Friday on restricted activity. I felt OK when I got up today, still had a slight fever, but I had PLANS. By the time I was showered and dressed, the fever was back, and it was clear that the plans were a REALLY bad idea. But I didn't want to blow off Ernie's birthday, did I? An hour plus to get there, then two or three or four hours of table games, and then an hour plus home... No. Didn't have it. Did did I have the trip there and back in me? Yes, but that meant walking in, saying hello and congratulations, and then walking out again. That was a STOOPID idea.
Friendship and honor are a fierce combination...
So I pulled myself together, made the trip, said hello to everyone, congratulated Ernie on another trip around the sun, played with the dog briefly, and went home.
Three good friends, three amiable strangers, table games, grilled hamburgers, grilled sweet corn. I clenched my teeth and walked away.
It was the right decision. Doesn't make it hurt less.
Abdul, the new clerk at the local convenience store, is from Saudi Arabia. We have had enough conversation for him to know that I am a bit different from his usual customers...
Today, I was buying lottery tickets, and he asked me if I knew the mechanism for determining winners in the multi-state lotteries; he had never seen a drawing. I described the machines, and we fell to a discussion of probability. He is a programmer, and knew a few things, though he said he was trying to figure a loophole in the lotteries; I wished him luck.
"There is no such thing as luck," he said. "It is all algorithms."
I shrugged. "You throw a thousand dice," I said, "You expect 167 ones. That's probability." I made a gun of my left hand, pointed it at the ceiling. "You throw ONE die," I continued, swiping my right hand across my left as if spinning a revolver cylinder, and then pointed my finger at him. "THAT is luck."
His eyes got huge, and then his face lit up. His world view had just shifted. It was a small shift, but palpable nonetheless. I smiled and went on my way.
I used to love talking to my friends on the phone, but somewhere along the line something has shifted; I have a list of people to whom I owe phone calls, and occasionally I stare at it as if it were an angry rattlesnake. I still love to TALK, of course, to friends, and to strangers, and occasionally even to inanimate objects, but I have come to pretty much hate phones. Looking back, I remember that my first reaction to the smart phone was one of revulsion (it didn't help that the supplier was the much-hated Apple, but that is a different neurosis).
So what changed? It has occurred to me that for about two decades, my main interaction with telephones was at work, where the telephone ALWAYS represented an onerous duty. So the revulsion can be explained as a long term condidtioned response. Knowing that doesn't help solve the problem, though.
Life goes on.
Life in my household:
I get up well before Dementia does, and am usually in the living room playing with my computer when she comes down for the first time. This morning she came down and immediately started rummaging in the freezer.
Dementia: No one else will believe me, but you KNOW you didn't hit me...
Hyena: That's an ominous opening...
She managed to bash her left cheekbone into a bedside chair. Gods only know how; she is talented. It looks like there will be an impressive bruise. Apparently this is some kind of once a decade ritual; this is the third time in 33 years of marriage.
I was driving east on Grand Avenue yesterday when I had a new-to-me experience: I recognized a face on a billboard. Not in the sense of, "I know that person's name", that is just a matter of recognizing celebrities. No, this was a, "I know his phone number and where he lives and he's married to my niece," kind of recognition. Mark Lancaster is playing Nox the Demonlord, figurehead character for Fright Fest at Great America, for the third time this year, and his (heavily made up and unrecognizable if you don't know it's him) face dominates the billboard on the entry sign.
VERY cool, Mark. Way to go!
Facebook reminds me Stephen L. Lortz was born on this day in 1949. This is the first time, since then, that he hasn't been among the living on the day.
Fare thee well where ever you fare, Steve. Open roads, fair winds, calm seas, and warm fires.
It occurred to me that, given a good audio book and no particular time pressure, rush hour traffic isn't really that bad. There is always the Chicago mantra: Anything is better than the CTA.
Why, oh WHY, would anyone shell out an evil amount of money for a Lamborghini, and then paint it like an emasculated school bus? Faded pumpkin? Salmon? It's like owning a starship and only using it to go to the corner convenience store.
Linguistic horror of the day: "Mentee" is an anathematic neologism which was apparently coined by someone who did not know that the reciprocal of "mentor" was "protege."
(Edited to "correct" the spelling of "anathematic" (which I fully acknowldge to be an anathematic neologism in its own right) at the prompting of Tom Murphy.)
I am reluctant to share this, but I am going to because it seems to be gnawing on me, and I need to let it out. My apologies.
Conversation with my father, yesterday, triggered by mention of hurricane Irma:
Me: How many times did you go to the DR?
DVH: Fifteen. Twice by myself, and thirteen times with... that woman... that woman who was my wife.
Me: You mean Frannie? My mother?
My dad forgot my mother's name. He didn't forget HER, he just spaced her name, and it bothered him. You could see it on his face, hear it in his voice. It was not a good moment.
My father is still very much himself, but that self is getting smaller and smaller all the time.
The wheel turns.
Character bits for an RPG character under construction:
"I admit it, I have a gambling problem. It's not that I'm a BAD gambler; I don't waste my money on bad bets. The problem is that I can't seem to walk away from good bets that I can't afford to lose. It's like my problem with women. It's not that I waste my time on women I can't get, it's that I can't seem to walk away from available women that I can't afford to win."
More geekery, at the interstice between RPG and philosophy:
I stumbled across an on-line discussion of methods to achieve corporeal immortality under the rules of the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons. All of the presented solutions involved either divine intervention, or top level (9th) spells. This intrigued me, because there is a 7th level full body regeneration spell in the lists that will, among other things, regrow severed limbs. No one seemed to realize that a side effect of this spell would be to restore the entire body to the cusp of maturity (somewhere between 17 and 35, depending on the specific sub-system being discussed), so casting the spell every decade or so would achieve immortality nicely.
There are a few minor hints in the rules that aging is some kind of metaphysical burden, and the gallery seemed to be buying that idea whole-heartedly. This strikes me as strange. Aging is exactly equal to the progressive failure of the body's self repair mechanisms. If only those systems were fully redundant, we would live forever (or at least until there was a simultaneous double failure...).
Reply from Kevin Price:
Well, if the telomere theory of aging is accurate, then Regeneration could regrow limbs that have the same telomere chain length as the parts they regrew from. And as such, the 'age' of your body wouldn't change at all.
Life in my household:
Dementia: There is no way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would have Danny Rand (Iron Fist, of the Marvel-Netflix series) EAT his parents.
Hyena: They would if *I* were editor...
Life in my household (more "Iron Fist" foolishness):
Danny Rand: It's a complicated story. Every time I try to tell someone, they freak out.
Dementia: Have you ever heard of "Brigadoon"?
Life in my household:
Dementia: There's really only one good joke in "Spaceballs"...
Hyena: (quoting): "Funny..."
Dementia: (laughing) Yep, that's the one.
This is what happens after 33 years...
(The complete line is, "Funny, you don't look Druish...")
First rule of honest fantasy writing: Commonplace reality is assumed to apply, unless explicityly stated otherwise, or when revelation of the differences is integral to the plot.